Saturday, July 29, 2006


Thug life, South African style

By Edward Copeland
Silence can sometimes speak volumes and that is certainly the case with Presley Chweneyagae's performance in the title role of Tsotsi, the South African film that won the Oscar for foreign language film in 2005 but didn't get a theatrical release until 2006 and is now available on DVD. I'm hard pressed to remember the last time I've seen a performance with this little dialogue that proves to be this powerful.

In many respects, Tsotsi, written and directed by Gavin Hood and based on acclaimed South African playwright Athol Fugard's sole novel, carries many familiar elements, yet they still manage to seem fresh through the different locale and emotional underpinnings.

In the DVD commentary, Hood actually says that he storyboards not for camera shots but for emotional beats and that certainly shows here. Tsotsi, which translates loosely to thug, is a young gangster from a South African shantytown whose life is transformed when during a carjacking he unwittingly takes a 3-month-old child with him and finds his humanity bubble to the surface over his concern for this child.

It seems that many movies, especially non-American ones, return again and again to the story of adults whose lives are changed through interaction with children, but Tsotsi doesn't overplay the sentimentality or let the audience off with easy answers. In fact, the DVD contains two alternate endings that would have brought the film to a more concrete resolution, but Hood opted for the more ambiguous one and he made the right choice.

In the film, Tsotsi's concern for the child prompts him to force another young mother (Terry Pheto) to breastfeed the infant at gunpoint and her relationship with Tsotsi, while contained in relatively few scenes, really stands at the heart of the movie, as she gains the power in the relationship and subtly guides Tsotsi to do what's right.

In another great ambiguous choice, Hood doesn't overplay their relationship either, refusing to let the audience know if there is a true friendship or even romance burgeoning between the two. Tsotsi also is amazingly concise, clocking in at about an hour and a half.

The only other foreign language Oscar nominee from last year that I've seen, Paradise Now, also managed to pack strong drama in nearly the same running time and it truly makes me wonder why American filmmakers can't seem to do the same, feeling compelled to bloat their films past the two hour mark as if shorter films can't be taken seriously.

Gavin Hood's commentary does provide some insights into Tsotsi and the choices he made. It also drives home how prevalent the use of CGI has become, when even this low-budget, South African film used special effects to make it appear as if ants were crawling all over the baby's face.

Hood also explains that the movie has updated its time period to current times whereas Fugard's original novel was set in the 1950s under apartheid, when the white government was really beginning to be oppressive. He said Fugard approved of the changes and I think Hood again made the right call because by making Tsotsi a contemporary story as it adds a universality to it that might not have been possible if set in the bygone time.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006


An imperfect Altman

By Edward Copeland
Don't ever let it be said that Robert Altman doesn't like to take chances. Seeing his 1979 film A Perfect Couple for the first time, I'm reminded once again how much this master filmmaker likes to shake things up and did shake things up, especially in the 1970s phase of his career. Even when he misses, he always seems to offer something to contemplate or admire.

A Perfect Couple doesn't approach his greatest works and, if pushed to make a call on it, I'm not sure I could recommend it. Still, something about this lesser-known Altman lingers on the cinematic palate and makes you think about giving it a second chance, something that certainly can't be said about his real misfires such as Ready to Wear or Dr. T and the Women.

Spawned during the making of 1978's A Wedding and filmed after Quintet, A Perfect Couple is an odd little film, part musical, part unconventional romantic comedy. The film stars Paul Dooley, sporting a mustache as the middle-age, never-wed son of a strangely tight-knit Greek family who turns to computer dating to find romance, ending up on a date with Marta Heflin, a member of her own strange, extended family, in this case a folk-rock group called Keepin' 'em Off the Streets, led by a singer played by Ted Neeley, best known for his title role in the film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. That's pretty much all there is to A Perfect Couple — a loose collection of scenes detailing the bumpy dating road Dooley and Heflin encounter surrounded by ample musical performances.

In a feature on the DVD, Altman explains the origin of the film, which began when his longtime assistant director and frequent actor Allan Nichols put together a makeshift band made up mostly of out-of-work New York actors. While making A Wedding, which also featured Dooley and Heflin, Altman toyed with the idea of making a concert film of the band before he was struck by the idea of making Dooley and Heflin a couple in another film.

The funniest detail in the DVD feature is that Dooley didn't even know that Altman had this role and movie in mind for him until he read an ad in Variety announcing that he was going to star in this Altman project. You have to be a ballsy filmmaker who earns the respect and loyalty of his actors to pull a stunt like that and get away with it, and A Perfect Couple brings back many Altman regulars, such as Henry Gibson (The Long Goodbye, Nashville, HealtH), Belita Moreno (3 Women, A Wedding), Ann Ryerson (A Wedding, HealtH) and Dennis Franz (A Wedding, Popeye).

Tony Berg, who is one of the guitarists in Keepin' 'em Off the Streets, points out in the DVD feature the constant in nearly all of Altman's works: nothing and no one is ever quite what they seem. That's certainly the case with A Perfect Couple, that glides along on its own meandering path, letting the audience connect the dots (if there are any to connect at all, plots be damned). Altman says he considers this as good a movie as he's ever made, but I swear I've heard him say that about almost every one of his films, especially the lesser ones.

When I interviewed him for Ready to Wear, he said he considers all his films his children and so he has a tendency to love the failures the most because they need it. I wouldn't label A Perfect Couple a failure but it's far from a success. However, it is downright watchable and intriguing, which is more than you can say for most movies these days.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006


Mako (1933-2006)

It seems as if in the past couple weeks, this site has become overwhelmed by the alarming number of celebrity obits and there is yet another one to report today, that of Mako, the groundbreaking Japanese actor who received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in 1966's The Sand Pebbles. Here now is a brief look at some of Mako's career highlights. Unfortunately, he never quite equaled his early Oscar-nominated work, spending most of his time in episodic television, including four separate appearances as different characters on TV's M*A*S*H.

The Sand Pebbles (1966): The film itself is bloated, but Mako injected real humanity into his role of Ho-pan who aids a U.S. gunboat patrolling China during the 1926 revolution.
Pacific Overtures (1976): Mako earned a Tony nomination for his lead role in Stephen Sondheim's musical about Western nations discovering Japan.
Conan the Barbarian (1982): Mako served as both narrator and the character of the Wizard in Arnold's take on the famed character and returned in the 1984 sequel, Conan the Destroyer.
Testament (1983): Mako appeared in this post-nuclear war drama that netted Jane Alexander an Oscar nomination.
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988): Mako also had a small role in this underrated Francis Coppola film.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005): I have to admit, I didn't recognize him playing Ziyi Zhang's father until the end credits rolled.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006


Jack Warden (1920-2006)

Jack Warden was always one of my favorite character actors and it's with sadness that I report his passing. He always brought something interesting to the table, even when he was stuck in crap like the Problem Child movies. He also was incredibly prolific, both in film and television, winning an Emmy for his role as George Halas in the landmark television movie Brian's Song, two other nominations for his lead role in the series Crazy Like a Fox and Oscar nominations for two films with Warren Beatty: 1975's Shampoo and 1978's Heaven Can Wait. He will be missed, so I offer this brief look at some of his many acting highlights.

12 Angry Men (1955): Warden was part of one of the greatest ensembles ever placed on film, playing the sports-obsessed juror more interesting in getting deliberations over so he can get to the ballpark.
The Twilight Zone: "The Lonely" (Nov. 13, 1959): Warden played a convict abandoned on an asteroid who gets the "gift" of a very realistic female robot.
The Twilight Zone: "The Mighty Casey" (June 17, 1960): Not one of the best episodes of the series, but it also involved a robot, this time a robot baseball player. Most notable for Warden coming in at the last minute to pinch-hit for the actor Paul Douglas, who died during filming.
Brian's Song (1971): The TV movie about the tragic tale of Chicago Bears football player Brian Piccolo almost defined the modern tearjerker and Warden excelled at bringing legendary coach George Halas to life.
Shampoo (1975): Warden scored his first Oscar nomination as the hapless husband caught in the middle of Warren Beatty's promiscuous hair stylist.
All the President's Men (1976): Warden provided a solid presence as one of the editors of the Washington Post during the unfolding of the Watergate scandal.

Heaven Can Wait (1978): Warden gave one of his best performances and earned his second Oscar nomination as another football coach, this time the fictional coach of the Los Angeles Rams who loses his star quarterback only to find him return in the body of an eccentric millionaire.
Death on the Nile (1978): Warden gave one of his funniest performances as a doctor helping Hercule Poirot solve murders on a barge cruising through Egypt.
And Justice for All... (1979): As Al Pacino's judge confidant, Warden's performance here is perhaps best remembered for the scene where he fires a gun in the air to gain control of his courtroom.
Being There (1979): Warden played the president who gets what he thinks is wise advice from the dim gardener Chance in this great satire.
Used Cars (1980): A great underrated comedy by Robert Zemeckis which features Warden in not one, but two great comic roles as battling brothers.
The Verdict (1982): Warden plays another confidant to a lawyer, this time Paul Newman's alcoholic one seeking redemption.
September (1987): Warden teamed with Woody Allen for the first time in this underrated drama.
Bullets Over Broadway (1994): He and Woody joined forces again, this time with Warden playing a theatrical producer.
While You Were Sleeping (1995): In another strong ensemble in this light but enjoyable comedy, Warden played the wise Saul, offering advice to Sandra Bullock.
Bulworth (1998): Warden teamed with Warren Beatty again, this time as a political adviser helping a depressed senator plot his own death.

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Friday, July 21, 2006


Paddy's second Oscar

By Edward Copeland
As the luck of the draw of the GreenCine movie queue would have it, The Hospital arrived in my mailbox just days after the passing of actor Barnard Hughes. I'd seen the movie before, but never letterboxed and it's been a long time since I checked into Paddy Chayefsky's other Oscar-winning satire. The movie holds up fairly well. Granted, it's no Network (few things are), but Chayefsky's script sparkles with great things to say and is populated with fine performances, particularly from George C. Scott who scored an Oscar nomination for this the year after he refused the award for Patton.

In addition to the aforementioned Hughes, he's aided by a terrific thirtysomething Diana Rigg (who just turned 68 this week) and the cast is sprinkled with performers who would go on to bigger and better things, often in single-line cameos. A partial list of the cast: Stephen Elliott, Nancy Marchand, Frances Sternhagen, Stockard Channing, Richard Dysart, Christopher Guest and Robert Walden. (Yes, Mrs. Pynchon and Rossi worked in the same hospital prior to meeting up at the Trib on Lou Grant.)

While good, the screenplay doesn't hold a candle to Chayefsky's Network and one can't help but wonder what Chayefsky could have come up with today in an era of HMOs, malpractice fears and insurance headaches. Though he was right on the mark concerning medical errors — just check out this news story that moved just today. Unfortunately, Chayefsky didn't live long enough to endure those medical nightmares so he saddled his otherwise top-notch satire with a silly serial killer plotline.

The movie is hampered further because it didn't have a pro such as Sidney Lumet at the helm, but rather the sluggish direction of Arthur Hiller, who seems to only have made good films in his career such as this and The In-Laws purely by accident.

It's worth noting that Lumet did try his hand at a medical satire with 1997's Critical Care, though the script wasn't strong enough to make up for other shortcomings. It did contain a funny performance by Albert Brooks though as an aging doctor, hidden beneath old-age makeup.

Re-visiting The Hospital, what it reminded me most of all was St. Elsewhere, which hit on many of the same medical topics with humor and pathos (and similarly saddled one season with an unnecessary story about a rapist terrorizing the hospital. However, it's interesting to see the seeds of themes that Chayefsky would return to later.

There's a character who believes he's a prophet who saw a vision (which he compares to the burning bush just as Howard Beale would later) and there are even seeds of some of the trippier elements Chayefsky pursued in his novel and disowned screenplay of Altered States.

Despite Hiller's haphazard direction and the screenplay's wrong turns, The Hospital is still worth checking out. I do have one request for trivia help from those movie buffs out there: I could swear that Barnard Hughes not only plays Diana Rigg's father but also the surgeon who begins to perform the hysterectomy on the wrong patient. It looks like Hughes (with a mustache, unlike his credited character) and sounds like him, but the credits give no clue and I didn't catch what the surgeon character's name was. Does anyone know if that also was Hughes or, if not, the name of the actor who played the part?

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Monday, July 17, 2006


Mickey Spillane (1918 -2006)

I'll be honest — I've never read a Mickey Spillane mystery and my knowledge of him is restricted to Stacy Keach's Mike Hammer TV show and the Armand Assante version of I, the Jury, but I do recognize when someone's passing should be acknowledged on this site.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Mickey Spillane, the macho mystery writer who wowed millions of readers with the shoot-’em-up sex and violence of gumshoe Mike Hammer, died Monday. He was 88.
After starting out in comic books Spillane wrote his first Mike Hammer novel, I, the Jury, in 1946. Twelve more followed, with sales topping 100 million. Notable titles included The Killing Man, The Girl Hunters and One Lonely Night.
Many of these books were made into movies, including the classic film noir Kiss Me, Deadly and The Girl Hunters, in which Spillane himself starred. Hammer stories were also featured on television in the series Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer and in made-for-TV movies. In the 1980s, Spillane appeared in a string of Miller Lite beer commercials.
Besides the Hammer novels, Spillane wrote a dozen other books, including some award-winning volumes for young people.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006


Some things should stay in a time capsule

By Edward Copeland
Why is it that so often films made in the period they depict fail to look like legitimate period pieces years later? The answer, I believe, usually can be found in the fact that the movie itself is lacking in enough areas that what once were authentic period attitudes and decor end up looking downright silly. this certainly was the case when I watched Paul Mazursky's 1969 film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.

Part of what disappointed me in the film was that I expected more of a comedy but it really is deadly serious, a tone that fails to match with the silly period details such as encounter groups and the like. Really, I found it surprising that both Elliot Gould and Dyan Cannon managed to snag Oscar nominations for this, though Gould certainly has his moments, especially when he's confessing to an affair at a group gathering with a mouth full of peanuts.

Though Gould and Cannon at least get to play the more reasonable couple of the pair. Poor Robert Culp and Natalie Wood are saddled with the burden of being "with it" as they explore sexual and marital mores.

Of course, I'm curious as to how Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice played to audiences when first released. Mazursky went on to make other films, both better (An Unmarried Woman, Enemies: A Love Story) and worse (Scenes from a Mall, The Pickle), but this was the movie that really put him on the map. (On the DVD commentary track, Mazursky proclaims this the best film he's ever made.)

He's also done a lot of acting, including several appearances on HBO's great Curb Your Enthusiasm and two guest shots (including getting killed) on The Sopranos. For me though, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice just left me cold.

The issues it explores have all been handled better in countless other films so the details of the time period just makes the film seem corny today. Mazursky does manage a couple of nice scenes and there is a strange hypnotic effect to the closing sequence, but what went on before that in the film fails to earn it.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006


Red Buttons (1919-2006)

Boy, this is not a good week for celebrities. Now, Oscar winner Red Buttons (for Sayonara) has passed away at 87. The actor-comedian had a long career from stage, screen and television, particularly memorable for his appearances on Dean Martin's TV roasts where he did his routine about people "who never got a dinner." Here are some highlights from his long career:

Sayonara (1957): Buttons won a supporting actor Oscar as a doomed soldier in love with a Japanese woman during World War II.

Hatari (1962): He was along for the ride as John Wayne and Howard Hawks teamed on this African adventure.

The Longest Day (1962): He was one of the many in the incredibly large cast of the incredibly long war film.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They (1969): For me, Buttons was much more memorable in his turn as marathon dance contestant Sailor than he was in his Oscar-winning role.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972): I hope that the two unnecessary remakes of this disaster classic didn't lead to his demise.

Pete's Dragon (1977): He was one of Shelley Winters' less-than-reliable henchmen in this Disney outing.

He also appeared on numerous episodes of televison series including Roseanne as her mother's boyfriend, ER and the requisite stopping place for older performers: Fantasy Island and The Love Boat.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Barnard Hughes (1915-2006)

You might not recognize the name immediately, but the face should be ring some bells. The great character actor Barnard Hughes has passed away at the age of 90. His career encompassed stage, screen and television with many memorable moments in all mediums.

He won a 1978 Emmy for an appearance as a judge on Lou Grant. The same year, he won a Tony for the title role in Da, a role he later re-created in a 1988 film version. His television work was plentiful, including five years in the early 1960s on The Guiding Light as Dr. Bruce Banning, three appearances on All in the Family as the Catholic priest Father Majeski and a notable guest appearance on Homicide: Life on the Street.

His work on Broadway was plentiful. In addition to his Tony win for Da, he earned a 1973 Tony nomination as featured actor for a revival of Much Ado About Nothing. Other Broadway work included revivals of Uncle Vanya, The Iceman Cometh and Hamlet. He also appeared in the original casts of Prelude to a Kiss and The Good Doctor. His film work was also notable and I've picked some highlights (or notable films) out of his career to spotlight.

  • Midnight Cowboy (1969): Hughes gave a memorable turn as the old man who encountered Joe Buck in a hotel room.
  • Where's Poppa? (1970): Hughes was part of the ensemble in this indescribable wacky comedy.
  • The Hospital (1971): Hughes played a seemingly ill patient in Paddy Chayefsky's second-greatest satire.
  • Sisters (1973): Hughes had a small role in Brian De Palma's early, but memorable thriller.
  • Oh, God (1977): Hughes seemed to play a lot of judges, such as the one he played in Carl Reiner's comedy starring George Burns and John Denver.
  • Tron (1982): Honestly, I don't remember him in this — but to me this whole movie was an incoherent blur.
  • The Lost Boys (1987): For me, Hughes was the highlight of this vampire tale as the feisty grandfather who gets the memorable line at the end about the problem with the town where they live.
  • Da (1988): Hughes recreated his Tony-winning stage role in this underrated film about a man dealing with his Irish's father's presence.
  • Doc Hollywood (1991): Hughes was the town's old-style doctor who teaches young upstart Michael J. Fox a thing or two.

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    Tuesday, July 11, 2006


    Ambiguity that works

    By Edward Copeland
    Making films that purposely choose not to spell everything out for the audience is a difficult thing, but Michael Haneke is becoming a master of it, as exemplified by his 2005 film Cache (Hidden), which I just caught up with on DVD. I've only seen three films by Haneke (the others being Code Unknown and The Piano Teacher), but I'm fast becoming a fan of his style. He reminds me of Lars von Trier with a head that isn't full of mush.

    It's almost beside the point to try to describe what his films about, especially Cache (Hidden) which at its heart plays like a mystery, but one where the solution is besides the point except to spark discussion among its viewers.

    In an interview on the DVD, Haneke says the film is basically how people deal with guilt, as seen through the character of Georges (Daniel Auteuil). However — in an almost mysterious way — Haneke grabs your interest despite the fact you're never quite sure what is going on or where the film is headed. Somehow, you don't mind the lack of equilibrium.

    Cache (Hidden), if it resembles any other movie at all, shares ideas with David Lynch's Lost Highway, only without the supernatural angles and with a much more cohesive tone.

    Joining Auteuil as his wife is the great Juliette Binoche, who also appeared in Haneke's Code Unknown. Binoche also took the lead in Krzysztof Kieslowski's great Blue, another film that demands more of its audience than most movies. Perhaps we can forgive her for Chocolat.

    My first exposure to Haneke was The Piano Teacher, which really tells a fairly straight-forward story and contains an absolutely fearless performance by the great Isabelle Huppert. Of the three Haneke films, it may be my favorite, but that's only because Cache is freshly dancing around my mind and I will probably need to go back to it again. Though, you have to be careful not to go overboard with your praise for Haneke's films — they are not everyone's cup of tea (as I'm sure Josh R might chime in about in comments), much in the way that not everyone is bowled over by Terrence Malick.

    My fascination with Haneke's films may be a side effect of my jaded view of many films after a lifetime of seeing too many. After watching so many movies that don't even bother to try to challenge you, his movies are a welcome change-of-pace.

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    Monday, July 10, 2006


    June Allyson (1917-2006)

    I hope that with Ms. Allyson's passing, she is remembered for more than just her Depends commercials, because her career was a lot more than that. Granted, I haven't seen some of her most notable works (such as 1949's Little Women where she played Jo).

    Of her works that I'm familiar with — and I'm sure Josh R. will come to add more.

    Best Foot Forward (1943) — A fun college musical with an especially good supporting turn by Nancy Walker.

    The Glenn Miller Story (1953): She played the rock of a wife to James Stewart's famed bandleader.

    Executive Suite (1954): I'll be honest — I don't remember her in this one, though I found the entire film fairly forgettable.

    She also did oodles of episodic TV work in shows ranging from The Love Boat and Hart to Hart to Airwolf and Murder, She Wrote.

    Here is a
    link to The Washington Post obituary.

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    Friday, July 07, 2006


    Accentuate the Positively Awful

    By Edward Copeland
    In my never-ending and downright sick desire to see every movie that received one of the top Oscar nominations, I recently endured the new DVD release of 1961's The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, which earned Lotte Lenya a supporting actress Oscar nomination. I really have very little to say about the movie, but it inspired in me a topic that always needs to be said: if you can't do a good accent, for God's sake don't do it.

    The laughable accent in this case is young Warren Beatty, pretending to be a bad young Italian lothario — badly. Try to listen to him say lines like (and this is a rough recall) "The only person I ever loved was my second cousin — and she was raped by your troops and spent the rest of her life in a convent" in the hokiest of hoky pretend Italian accents and try to suppress a giggle. What's even worse — he's acting opposite the great Vivien Leigh, a British actress who won not one, but two Oscars for great Southern turns and puts on a passable generic American accent here.

    Of course, Beatty is hardly the only actor to embark on an accent that he or she shouldn't have. I also recently watched Anne Baxter do a lousy French accent in Billy Wilder's 1943 film Five Graves to Cairo. In recent years, the poster boy for bad accents has been Kevin Costner, who turned in a pathetic British accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, a wandering Southern turn in JFK and a truly awful Boston accent in 13 Days. It doesn't help that Costner can barely act with or without an accent, but his attempts at these certainly made matters worse. Boston brogues seem to be particularly tricky for many actors to pull off. Holly Hunter's in Once Around was awful, though I guess her Southern twang needed to be disguised despite the fact that no one else in her screen family bothered to fake a Boston accent. The interesting thing about Hunter — and some bad accents — is that it didn't sink the movie. I love Once Around — and it works despite Hunter's weakness. Another example of a film rising above a bad Boston brogue is Quiz Show, despite Rob Morrow's embarrassing attempt to pretend to be from Massachusetts.

    Movie buffs and film critics seem to take a harder line on the accent impaired than the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences does — they didn't seem to mind Michael Caine's dreadful New England accent in the equally dreadful The Cider House Rules or Helen Hunt's wandering New York accent that kept seeming to be run over somewhere on the Cross Bronx Expressway only to reappear and vanish throughout the course of As Good As It Gets. Both still managed to win Oscars for their lackluster efforts. If you go way back, Oscar also rewarded Spencer Tracy for a supposed Portuguese accent in Captains Courageous even though he came off sounding like he was doing an impression of Chico Marx. Another Oscar winner takes a different tack entirely — and I admire him for it. Sean Connery steadfastly refuses to change his Scottish brogue no matter what part he is playing. A Russian submarine commander? Nah — he's still Scottish. An Irish cop in Chicago — who can really distinguish between Irish and Scottish, right? Various and sundry Americans — Scottish brogues all. It's refreshing to see an actor who recognizes his limitations and doesn't force ill-conceived tries at other tongues on his faithful audience. To avoid being entirely negative, I would like to commend those performers who can do accents well.

    Meryl Streep is legendary for it (though I've heard critics of her work in Out of Africa), but her gift is fairly amazing, especially when you listen to her flawless Australian in what I think is her greatest performance in A Cry in the Dark. For awhile there in the 1980s, Streep did so many different accents that it was almost shocking to hear her speak in her natural voice. Her virtuosity and gift for getting a hold of different accents is extraordinary.

    As I wrap this up, there is one other actor whose accent work I want to single out for praise. It is always somewhat of a shock when you hear James Gandolfini outside his role of Tony Soprano and realize that his flawless Jersey voice is an affectation that Gandolfini doesn't have in real life. This applies to many of the other members of the cast of The Sopranos as well, but hearing Gandolfini speak normally always seems to be more jarring than the other fakers. So, I beg with all you thespians out there — if you can't pull off the accent, don't try. Sure, sometimes the works can rise above the mistake, but it's not a chance worth taking. Also, it is especially jarring when some actors in a film try to do accents and others don't. Filmmakers — go all one way or all the other. Remember — very few are going to go after you for not doing accents for characters that should have them — but they will if you do accents badly. Remember how many Germans in old World War II movies tended to be British? Viewers will forgive.

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